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Research Seed Grant Recipients

Research Seed Grants seek to support convergent research teams who are focused on sustainability and associated solutions. Seed Grant recipients span a variety of disciplines and work to crucially enhance sustainability education and research, as well as further Pitt’s national recognition in sustainability and the visibility of sustainability research and education on campus.

Past Recipients


  • Shanti Gamper Rabindran, Graduate School of Public & International Affairs
    Tony Kerzmann, Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
    Deploying Solar Projects in Rural Southwestern Pennsylvania: Understanding and Securing Community Acceptance
  • Mohammad Masnadi, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
    Cellulosic Biomass Conversion via Liquid Metal Catalysis
  • Sachin Velankar, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
    Thermal Desalination Process Based on Hydrate Crystallization of Polyoxacyclobutane


  • Leanne Gilbertson, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Meng Wang, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Engineering Subcellular Bioreactors for Selective Metal Recovery as Metallic Particles
  • Shanti Gamper-Rabindran, Graduate School of Public & International Affairs
    Grant MacIntyre, Graduate School of Law
    The Role of PA's Public Utility Commission in Efforts to Decarbonize Pennsylvania's Electricity Grid


  • James McKone, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
    A Circular Chemical Industry: Closing the Anthropogenic Carbon Cycle with Biomimetic Reactors
  • Carla Ng, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Mapping the Landscape of Seafood in Pittsburgh Markets: Do Safe, Sustainable, and Accessible Meet?
  • Ravi Shankar, Industrial Engineering
    Jorg Wiezorek, Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
  • Upcycling of Machining Scrap via Mechano-Chemical Attribution Enhanced Hydride-Dehydride Processing for Sustainable Ti-Powder Fabrication
  • Aleksander Stevanovic, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Optimization of Traffic Signals on Pitt's Campus Road Network to Reduce Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Vehicular Traffic


  • Eric Beckman, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
    Giannis Mpourmpakis, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
    Robert Enick, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
    Götz Veser, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
    Chemical Recycling of Polyethylene to Ethylene
  • Sarah Haig, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Steven Sachs, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Towards Using Microbes for Sustainable Construction Materials: Feasibility Study*
    *Jointly funded by MCSI and IRISE
  • Katherine Hornbostel, Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
    Investigating Flexible Piezoelectric Materials with Lower Water Pressures
  • Feng Xiong, Electrical & Computer Engineering
    Amplifying the Efficiency of Tungsten Disulfide Thermoelectric Devices


  • Daniel Bain, Geology & Environmental Science
    Jeremy Weber, Graduate School of Public & International Affairs
    The Local Cost of Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells
  • Matthew Barry, Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
    Case Study of the Application of a Novel Integrated Thermoelectric Device Applied to the Waste Heat Recovery of Fleet Vehicles
  • Melissa Bilec, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Life Cycle Assessment Integration for High-Performance Building Design
  • Jingtong Hu, Electrical & Computer Engineering
    Hao Sun, Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Enable Data-Driven Quantitative Assessment of Building Resilience and Sustainability with Self-Powered Sensors
  • Peng Liu, Chemistry
    Computational Methods to Design Efficient and Sustainable Chemical Catalysts


  • Mostafa Bedewy, Industrial Engineering
    Protein Lithography: A Sustainable Technology for Sub-5-nm Nanomanufacturing
  • Markus Chmielus, Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
    High Efficiency of Refrigeration and Cooling through Additive Manufactured Magnetocaloric Devices
  • John Keith, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
    Toward Machine Learning Blueprints for Greener Chelants
  • Carla Ng, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    David Sanchez, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    H2P: Hydroponics to Pyrolysis: An Enclosed System for the Phytoremediation and Destruction of Perfectly Persistent Emerging Contaminants in Our Water


  • Daniel Bain, Geology & Environmental Science
    Emily Elliott, Geology & Environmental Science
    David Sanchez, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Brian Thomas, Geology & Environmental Science
    Student-Based Observations of Soil Moisture to Quantify Dynamics at the Intersection of Natural and Built Environments
  • Graham Beattie, Economics
    Andrea La Nauze, Economics
    Learning about Sustainability: Social Learning via Solar Panel Adoption
  • William Stanchina, Electrical Engineering
    β-Ga2O3 Nanoelectronics: A Path to Sustainable Semiconductor Technology for High-Efficiency Electricity Conversion from Renewables
  • Sachin Velankar, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
    Desalination of Sequestration and Release of Water in Poly Crystals
  • Götz Veser, Chemical Engineering
    A Novel Process for Efficient, Decentralized Ammonia Synthesis: Towards Fertilizer Production with Drastically Reduced Environmental Footprint


  • Kyle Bibby, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Developing CrAssphage as a Marker of Human Fecal Pollution in the Environment
  • Melissa Bilec, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Indoor Air Impacts and Pittsburgh 2030 Energy District
  • Michael Blackhurst, University Center for Social & Urban Research
    Randall Walsh, Economics
    Green Infrastructure Implementation Deepening Interdisciplinary at the University of Pittsburgh
  • Jane Cloughtery, Graduate School of Public Health
    Emily Elliott, Geology & Environmental Science
    Quantifying Reductions in Diesel-Related Air Pollution Exposures across Downtown Pittsburgh
  • Alex Jones, Electrical & Computer Engineering
    SHIELD: Sustainable, Holistic Infrastructure for Enabling Life-Cycle-Aware Detectors
  • Vikas Khanna, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Managing the Water-Energy Nexus for Shale Gas Production—Connecting Life Cycle Assessment with Process Systems Engineering 
  • Thomas McDermott, Electrical & Computer Engineering
    Measuring the Effect of Grid Voltage on Building Energy Labs